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tv   John Mc Laughlins One on One  WHUT  July 11, 2010 11:00am-11:30am EDT

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the autism epidemic. a wave of childhood autism is sweeping the developed world. autism is rapidly becoming one of the most commonly diagnosed developmental disorders second only to add. attention deficit disorder. but the diagnosis of autism is no longer as dire as it was only a few decades ago. new therapies and early interventions spell hope for those afflicted with autism. but why are there so many new cases of autism and what are autm's early warning signs? we'll ask u.s. congressman, chris smith, co-chairman of the congressional coalition
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for autism research and education and lee glues man, president and ceo of the autism society of america. if. for such a small if i live to a hundred. if social security isn't enough. if my heart gets broken. if she says yes. we believe if should never hold you back. if should be managed with a plan that builds on what you already have. together we can create a personal safety net, a launching pad, for all those brilliant ifs in the middle of life. you can call on our expertise
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and get guarantees for the if in life. after all, we're metlife. chairman smith and lee grossman, welcome. >> thank you. >> what are the early warning signs of an autistic child? lee grows man? >> there is numerous early warning signs. primarily one of the things a parent will first notice is the child doesn't seem to be responding to them. there will be lck of eye contact. they may have some speech developing as an infant and lose it as they grow older. it doesn't seem as though they are relating well with their peers. may have a high threshold to pain. it seems as though they somehow become deattached in many ways. >> in the literature there is some variation in the
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listing of the signs. for example, the autistic child is not supposed to be a cuddeling child. your child is now 18 years old. >> correct. >> when he was growing up, he was -- was he a cudler? >> extremely loveable. he was a great child. a lot of people described him as being like a puppy dog. that is one of the misconceptions about autism is that children don't appreciate love and care. many of them, i think most of them do. >> what did you -- at what age was that when you detected that there was something awry? >> when he was actually diagnosed somewhat late. this is in the early 90s when the awareness and appreciation of autism wasn't as great. he was such a nice kid and most professionals at that time were saying that's not indicative of autism. and he was speech delayed. having some of the other charteristics? >> what age was he then? >> 3,4?
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>> i'd say about 3 years old. >> are the professionals saying he'll out grow it and develop speech. we heard a myriad -- >> did he repeat words or phrases in. >> he has a trace of -- healed grab my hadn't and point in a direction or i would say something to him and healed repeat that back. >> did he have tantrums? >> not what you consider normal tantrums. many of these children might just shut down. and healed lay on the ground and -- he would lay on the ground and be immobile when he was having a hard time he avoided eye contact? >> yes. >> what about his designation of inappropriate attachment to balls or jacks or a tennis racketed or something. >> it seems as though they will lock on to something that is of extreme interest. many children have an interest in books. my son, for example, had the
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full collection of every doctor sues book there was and he used to carry them around. he was 3 years, 4 years old, in his backpack t weighed more than he did. but healed drag it around and whenever we got to a new place healed lathan out in a certain order. -- he would. >> he used gestures instead of words. language was slower. that's probably the first respond sner. >> yes and the eye contact is something that parents always talk about. it's so suspect. when you're talking to a child and when they are not responding or looking at you it generally will create or red flags. >> how about social relationships to his two brothers? >> he loved his brothers. >> there was a normal social relationship? >> i would say so. it was -- it was to a certain degree. as he was developing or getting older, his ability to respond at an age
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appropriate level with peers, with his brothers, seemed to be more interested in being by himself and doing his own thing and it was almost impossible to bring him back in and engage him in what would be considered normal group activities. >> congressman, you spend quite a bit of time in this sector. have you learned anything from the scientists or the parents about the cause of autism? >> we're not sure what the triggers are but there is a lot of speculation that mercury could be one which is used in the mm andrmpt other vaccinations now that has been taken out of most. >> what is mmr? >> the measels, mumps and rue bella. and our children now get a battery of vaccinations which obviously have a very laudible aim to prevent childhood diseases but there were serious concerns and it was data that immediately after getting
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the shot, some kids began to manifest symptoms of developmental disorder called autism. there is also a very provocative stud they came out of texas that coal burning plants which spew out mercury latent pollution, if you did an overlay of where the plants and were where the prevalence or a spike in autism occurred, it was in proximity to those plants. it's provocative. it's suggestive, not conclusive but it raises the bar that there may be or red flags, a number of triggers. and mercury at predisposition, a gene problem, unborn children may have some early indicators that they are going to be autistic. so we need to be looking earlier with the hopes of mitigating the early onset or the manifest station of this developmental disorder and earliest prevention, vigorous early prevention
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using best practiceos teaching can help get that child to a higher functioning level and there is a tremendous amount of research going to there now. i have a bill that would focus more resources so that more parents could get their children to a higher functioning level quicker through early intervention. >> so that early intervention can stall or it can decrease the impact of the onset of autism itself? >> and you know, one way autism was described to me years ago, because i have been working on it for 26 years but more profoundly sings we thought we had a spike of prevalence, in new jersey, when i found out we started with 1-ten thousand children who had autism. >> that was 13 years ago? >> 1980. and now we believe it's 1-166 and that's a cdc number. >> 1-104 boys?
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so you're pushing one out of 100. 1-400 girls. so it ax flicts boys more than girls. born in the u.s. are autistic. 1.7 million autistic people in the united states. 1.7 million. and the cost of care today is estimated at 90 billion dollars per year and you don't die of autism. you go old and need care and in some instances 24-7. >> exactly. this is a lifelong condition. when you're born with it, for the most part, vast majority of those people that have autism will have it throughout their life. >> and insurance? >> nothing is covering autism. a very, very small minority that may have medical coverage but for the most part, no. there isn't any and when these children leave the
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comfort and the entittlement that are provided throughout their school age years and they enter the adult sector, their service pot incased tremendously mainly because there is such a lack of services. a lack of appropriate care, that the only -- the ones that can receive it is at a tremendous cost and it's a tremendous price. and 90% of the cost of treatment and intervention and services for this community are in the adult sector. typically, the adult sector without question, at this point, is inadequate and inappropriate for serving its current population of adults with autism. and we have this what i call tsunami effect about to occur where there are so many new cases that are being diagnosed over the next 5-10 years they are going to be enchlt entering this sector which is as i said,il prepared to hand the
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current sector, it is going to in undate and overwhelm our social system in the next few years. >> as the congressman pointed out. 1-ten thousand was the incident of autism in 1980. that remained more or less constant until the end of the 80s. >> part of it was lack of looking for it. the cdc was doing next to nothing to find out who had it. >> today it's be difficul with regard to an autistic adult, the iq of the standardized literature view of the separation point of an autistic versus a nonautistic child is around 50, below 50. sometimes even those below 50 will have an extraordinariy talent like the piano. correct? you seen that? >> i guess one of the points
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we are trying to make at the autism society of america is that we believe that autism is treatable and that virtually everyone with autism has the strength that can be developed that could have them function into fairly typical way in the conventional population. it's a matter of finding what those strengths are and developing them and working with the child to educate and through behavioral modifications so you can use that to raise the water so to speak, on their other abilities. >> this is why early detection is so important because you can stall or retard the onset of the full-blown autistic melody. human functions such as understanding, speech, reading and thinking or moving the arm or coordinating touch, smell, hearing and seeing have been trades to low calls in the
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brain. -- localities -- and autism probably has a place in the brain. it's neurological. why is it that if these points can be treated separately, it would seem, making it possible for example in standard language deefficient autistic children children, why can't that part of the brain that controls the formation of language be treated independently and those sectors multiplied to include all of the behavioral signs that can be corrected individually and thus relief the situation? that's an involved question but it does occur to me as something that i haven't seen any description of what the answer is. we'll put that question to our guests but first here are the distinguished profiles. >> born pittsburgh, wife nen a3 children. 15 years of age. university of pennsylvania,
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3 years. a specific university bs administration. grossman associate, honolulu marketing distribution and consulting firm for medical manufacturers. owner 25 years. autism society of hawaii president 3 years. autism society of america president and ceo 1 1/2 years and currently. lee grossman. born new jersey, wife, marie. 4 children. 53 years of age. republican. trenton state college va business. u.s. house of representatives new jersey fourth district including parts of ocean counties 26 years and currently. elected at 26 years of age. coalition for autism research and education. cochair with congress man mike doyle of pennsylvania. author of legislative acts
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autism statistics, surveillance, research and epidemiology. honors, several including autism society of america congressional hero award. christopher smith. >> before we leave the subject on whether or not vaccines cause autism, which is a commonly held view, there is a division particularly on the drug the mare sol. and it should be noted that in the november december issue of of the columbia journalism review, a very lengthy article addresses the journalistic responsibilities are of how this is presented to the public and the conclusion is whether this ther setrue, right or wrong, there will be consequences for the public health apparatus and vaccine manufacturers. both parents and their children, and for journalists,
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but with science left to be done and scientists eager to do it, it seems too soon for the press to shut the door on the debate. because there have been articles that have dismissed the ther mersolor vaccine and there is congressman wells of call -- of florida who is a doctor and he says he believes in vaccines. he always have been a beliefer and i think his conviction is that the scare is an unjustified scare. but he says it should still be examined. science should still do its work, correct? >> that's absolutely correct. this issue about mercury and its environmental effect as related to autism is not a dead issue and it must be kept alive because we don't have the answers. ther mersolis a mercury additive -- >> who makes it.
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is that a generic term? >> i believe so. it's made by a number of the manufacturers of these vaccines and it's many people believe that it's that additive, that mercury that was used is what created the brain damage. now representative weldon's legislation called for the removal of ther mersol. >> well don. >> weld on from florida. and he called for the removal of mercury and ther mersolprimarily from all vaccines and that's something that to me makes so much sense. why would you want to put a known neurotoxin into somebody? >> he is careful to speak positively about vaccines for small pox and the other associated diseases. >> no doubt vaccinations -- >> caroline maloney is also another congresswoman from new york. shoo is also on the vaccine
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concern. i dala scare because the other vaccines have done so much for our population. do you take it -- you don't take a position -- >> my sense is and i support dave weld on's bill, let's act on the signed of -- side of prudence. there are so many times when somebody asks for shots and their kids begin to show signs and symptoms. >> it could be sheer coincidence. >> it could be but there is so much of it and as lee said, mercury is a devastating neurotoxin. it's very dangerous. and there are alternatives for preservetives. the only thing that mercury did in the mmr or any other vaccines is to act as a preserveative. use an alternative that doesn't carey with let's talk about the brain. the brain functions mysterious and runedderous. from the brain come all thoughts, memories, brarfs and movements. the brain is the site of thinking and the control
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center for the rest of the body. the brain coordinates the ability to move,g8oo=g8oc8c8cf the human brain. it is really an unbelievable miracle. isn't it? >> of course. of course. and because autism is a genetically based neurological condition which affects all that is best -- as best we can tell, all regions of the brain, that's why it's so absolutely complex. >> is the conclusion of this that somehow the structure of that brain didn't quite
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make it in some regard? >> it could and there could be an environmental trigger even in those early ages. we know unborn children are very well functioning individual persons but they are also very susceptible in the early weeks and months to outside stim la >> this is the fastest growing of all developmental diseases in the united states for children. correct? fastest growing. >> fastest growing developmental disabilitiy. and over taking add like over taking a number that the rate of grow$h, correct? >> i'm not really sure how it relates to add specifically but there is a number of other conditions out there that combined autism is much greater than. >> we have a group in town called -- or a group in atlanta called the cdc and
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they have not very much money and i don't want to give you the status here but i do have them but i'd rather give you statistics for the national statutes of health. they have a 30 billion dollar total budget. here we are talking about disease and experiencing that developmental upsurge of enormous proportions. 1-104 boys and 1-400 girls. and the autism budget for the nih is 3/10 of 1% -- now you are going to do something about that aren't you? >> we have been. you have to go to 1995 the centers for disease control spent 287,000 dollars and they straight lined that amount of money until 1998. i offered legislation that bumped it up. created centers for disease
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control, called centers of excellence it's now at 15 million dollars. we went from 10 million dollars at the national statutes of health for nih, to what it is now over 100 million dollars. and that's still not enough. but it's a 10 fold increase. but cdc and nih were not looking that the issue at all. they had crumbs falling off on to the table of their budget for so many years and now we have mobilized. we think it must go to the next level which is significantly more funding and lee and his organization have been have been very powerful. >> i think anybody knows this is a terrible indictment of our value system in this country that the nih doesn't get more money. i mean medical research is extremely expense and i have you're broke too. the autism society of america according to my literature is you're broke and if you're broke that means your influence is weaker? >> i would say we're not broke, we are doing okay. it's just that we need more money so we can do more for the community.
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the community right now is tremendously under served. and what our -- what we do is advocate and support. educate the public and as well as trying to services in the improvement and research. that takes money. our emphasis is going to the government and asking them and showing them the statistics and demanding from them that this is a condition that's reached epidemic proportions in the u.s. and this country has a marvelous history of responding to ep demics and crisis in the past. and this is one that is of no less value and has become a national health crisis and the government needs to respond to it. >> most parents of autistic kids are exhausted. because it's a 24-7 requirement. and the fact that they have to see so much -- their love for their children, they have to see how they could
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be but they are not is painful for them. so we ought to do something about that and give it the kind of providence is deserves. and some who are connected to means of communication are able to eist the services of the ad council and it declaredarticles that hae 5 major concerns and it's all over the airwaves this week, radio and television and it's in the newspapers. and it's great to see and the organi:ation that brought it about is autism speaks. it has 61 full-time employees and it's raised 27 million dollars this year. so, i would manage thane you're going to be able to match something like that because you're organization is quite prestige us and been in existence a longer period of time. >> we worked with them in developing the message for the add council program. it's interesting how autism is presented in the public
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as well as on the hill. we talk in these vast numbers and the lack of funding. really what is most important are the families and the individuals and how they are impacted. the emotional and social costs of this condition are devastating on the family. it is so much more of a difficult issue to address than just throwing money at it. there has to be an awareness. there has to be concern from the general public to understand and to appreciate what these families are going through on a daily basis. what the individuals of autism are experiencing throughout their lifetime and i think once we have that greater understanding and what the add council is doing is raising that awareness which is tremendous, we'll be able to develop the critil mass to effect change. >> why can't individual localities in the brain be treated for individual disorders? and why can't correctively that help to relief the
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disease? >> lee could probably answer this better. frankly that's what the research at nih in part is focusing on. this is largely a disability of connect activity or the lack of it where the message can't traverse the brain to tell the other parts of the brain and make one big whole. so you get, that's why you get some autistic children who are great playing the piano but they can't do other more mundane tasks because -- >> a lot of this is interlocking and it would be difficult to disengage the individual locality because it's so per vase sniff. >> it is very pervasive. there are no easy answers. >> yet your son is 18 years of age and has reached a level of adjustment has he not? >> he has. he has improved greatly and it's through primarily education and behavioral programing. there is much more that needs to be done that can be done on the biomedical side and that seems that we are
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very much closely associated with and working towards now. and that's where the breakthrough will come. >> chairman smith, a
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